Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 20
 
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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Firefighters’ Risks Must Not Include “Thoughtless Acts” by Homeowners

EDWARD J. GREENBLAT
Leabrook Lane
Princeton Township Fire Commissioner

Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad Named State’s Outstanding EMS Agency

PETER J. SIMON
President
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad
FRANK SETNICKY 
Director
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad

Borough“s Alleged ”Zero’ Tax Increase Demonstrates Its Budgeting Chicanery

JOHN J. TURI
Westcott Road

Fund-Raiser’s “Partners in Preservation” Thanked by D&R Greenway Land Trust

LINDA J. MEAD
Executive Director
D&R Greenway Land Trust


Firefighters’ Risks Must Not Include “Thoughtless Acts” by Homeowners

To The Editor:

It is my understanding that at a recent fire the resident was less than forthcoming and indeed was obstructive in the matter of cats he was housing.

Upon learning that there were a number of cats in the house, the firefighters’ reaction was to rescue them. The resident advised them that they were “frisky,” not disclosing that they had been feral. Asked about rabies shots, the firefighters were told that they were current, which later turned out not to be the case. The firefighters were bitten, one quite seriously. Upon getting back the cats, the resident did not sequester them for rabies testing but removed them from the Princeton Animal Control Officer’s jurisdiction. This resulted in the firefighters having to endure painful rabies shots. One was hospitalized as a result of a reaction to the shots.

Princeton is served by a volunteer fire company, established in 1788, that may be the oldest continuously operating one in the country. The firefighters are on call 24/7, and accept the risks that they may encounter as their duty to the community. The incident cited above is an egregious blow to their safety and, perhaps, morale.

Certainly, the Golden Rule applies here. Would any of us, as volunteers, want this to happen to us? Either through ignorance or worse, a resident has subjected our volunteer firefighters to unnecessary risk and painful medical procedures, as they worked to save his property and his pets.

The action that a municipality can take against an individual who creates this kind of hazardous situation for firefighters is limited. However, if there is a lesson to be learned from this incident, it is that all of us as private citizens must make certain that in a fire emergency we do not create additional hazards for the volunteers working on our behalf.

Our volunteer firefighters take an oath to preserve life of all forms. They put their lives at risk to save our lives and property. They deserve our thanks and full cooperation, and should not be subjected to risks caused by the thoughtless acts of others.

EDWARD J. GREENBLAT
Leabrook Lane
Princeton Township Fire Commissioner

Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad Named State’s Outstanding EMS Agency

To the Editor:

In times of national and personal crisis, the country’s emergency medical service (EMS) personnel respond to help those in need. In Princeton, these services are provided by the men and women of the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS). During EMS Week (May 17-23) we would like to publicly thank the members for their dedicated service to PFARS and, most importantly, the Princeton community.

PFARS’s 81 members — 65 volunteers, 6 full-time career staff, and 10 part-time career staff — are devoted to serving the community. In 2008, this was demonstrated by answering over 2,700 calls with an average response time of 6 minutes, 15 seconds. Our members can also measure the impact of their service by the thanks patients extend to the crew for their compassionate, professional care.

The officers of PFARS are deeply aware of the exceptional talent and commitment of our members, and this was recently highlighted on a state level when PFARS was named New Jersey’s Outstanding Public EMS Agency for 2008 by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. PFARS was recognized for its extensive training program, overall capabilities in emergency medical and technical rescue services, and competent team of personnel and volunteers. This award is a true testament to the steadfast loyalty and dedication that our members demonstrate each time they answer a call for help.

PFARS’s success as an EMS agency is possible only because of the uniquely talented team of individuals that comprise our membership. We are most grateful for their invaluable contributions to the safety and well-being of the Princeton community. We would therefore like to extend an additional, public “thank you” to all our members for helping the Squad fulfill its mission.

PETER J. SIMON
President
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad
FRANK SETNICKY 
Director
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad

Borough’s Alleged “Zero” Tax Increase Demonstrates Its Budgeting Chicanery

To the Editor:

Once again the Mayor and Borough Council have demonstrated their lack of fiscal intelligence, honesty, and competency concerning their flim-flam budget claims.

The contention that the Borough budget is $700,000 less than last year’s is patently absurd when the Council allocated $800,000 in Borough surplus funds to produce a “zero” increase in property taxes. It is equivalent to someone spending over $700,000 more than the previous year and taking $800,000 out of his savings account to pay for it, then claiming that he broke even on the deal.

The Mayor and Council conveniently omit the fact that the Borough surplus was not utilized to reduce taxes but to cover at least $800,000 in additional taxes. This surplus utilization is over and above the savings realized through the elimination of a number of municipal employee positions and a reduction in services resulting not in a “zero” tax increase but closer to a million dollars in additional taxes.

Councilman Roger Martindell, in an effort to disguise the actual tax increase by the utilization of $800,000 in surplus funds, facetiously claimed, “It is the first time in my memory that there has been a zero tax increase.” Mayor Mildred Trotman also demonstrated a lack of candor by claiming that in 25 years in municipal government, she does not recall another year without a tax increase.

With the Borough Mayor and Council’s promotion of even greater consolidation of departments with the Township, there is not a whisper coming from them that with the greatest area of consolidation of any two municipalities in the State, the Borough and Township have the highest taxes in the County and are among the highest in New Jersey. Either consolidation doesn’t work or the Borough and Township have the worst financial managers in the State.

The financial disaster facing the Borough is the direct result of one-party government bolstered by unlimited terms in office. The political creed of elected officials is, above all else, to perpetuate their continuance in office. Borough taxpayers got what they deserved for putting party politics over the welfare of the community.

JOHN J. TURI
Westcott Road

Fund-Raiser’s “Partners in Preservation” Thanked by D&R Greenway Land Trust

To the Editor:

The Trustees and Staff of D&R Greenway Land Trust take this opportunity to thank our generous sponsors and merchants for their support of our Down-to-Earth Ball, held May 2. One of three fund-raisers in honor of D&R Greenway’s 20th Birthday year, proceeds from ticket sales and individual and corporate sponsorships advance our mission of land preservation and stewardship. We are deeply grateful to our regional media for carrying our message so effectively to the public.

We wish to thank our local restaurants and markets who donated food for the Down-to-Earth Ball: the bent spoon, Bon Appetit, Blue Point Grill, Cherry Grove Farm, Chez Alice, Cramers Bakery of Yardley, DISHcaterers of Frenchtown, Griggstown Quail Farm, Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen, Pennington Quality Market, Terhune Orchards, Tre Piani of Forrestal Village, The Village Bakery of Lawrenceville, The Whole Earth, and Whole Foods.

Our 20th Anniversary corporate sponsors include PSE&G; The Glenmede Trust Company; Bloomberg; Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP; Ford 3 Architects, LLC; Pepper, Hamilton, LLP; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Julius H. Gross, Painting & Decorating Co.; Clarke Caton Hintz; Martin Appraisal Associates, Inc.; Miele, Inc.; Schulte Restorations, Inc.; and Woodwinds Associates, Inc.

We are grateful to these partners in preservation!

LINDA J. MEAD
Executive Director
D&R Greenway Land Trust

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

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